5G is more than simply a new radio interface. To support the scale of services and devices expected, the 3GPP has redesigned the network core to leverage SDN/ NFV technology to provide a scalable, agile infrastructure. Networks are expected to have hundreds of different network slices to manage everything from quality of service to traffic separation. SDN/NFV is also necessary to support mobile edge computing (MEC), essential for providing 1 ms round trip latency for extreme communications services.
Having the tools and visibility in place to support 5G rollouts by 2020 requires a new way of looking at service assurance and performance monitoring. Rather than part of the network infrastructure, these tools must be part of the service definition.